Everyone is familiar with the old quip that there are three types of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics. Statistical manipulation is very easy: It’s all about the assumptions and inputs one uses when crunching numbers.
In order to honestly and accurately determine how well or how poorly a shelter is performing—the percentage of animals who are leaving out the front door in the loving arms of families, rather than out the back door in garbage bags—it is therefore important to eliminate as much spin as possible. To do that requires raw data and transparency about what numbers are included, which are excluded, and, in some cases, even what happens to animals after they leave a shelter alive.
For shelter leadership, this information is essential to identifying where gaps in the safety net still exist.
For shelter reform advocates, this information clarifies the precise nature of the change they should be seeking to ensure that a community’s neediest animals are receiving the loving care and second chance they deserve.
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